Venezuela Perla gas sales pact signed, exports eyed

By OGJ editors

A Phase 1 final investment decision is the next step now that Eni, Repsol, and Petroleos de Venezuela SA have signed a gas sales agreement for commercial development of supergiant Perla gas-condensate field in the Gulf of Venezuela off Venezuela.

The companies have increased the estimate of gas in place to 17 tcf from 16 tcf (OGJ Online, Feb. 25, 2011).

Perla’s huge reserves also create the opportunity for a gas export project. A preliminary agreement has been reached to jointly evaluate export options as well as countries of destination.

The gas sales agreement, to be followed by the award of key contracts, marks the start of the development activities in the field, the partners said. They did not provide a field start-up date.

The companies have drilled four successful appraisal and delineation wells in Perla field, discovered in 2009 in 60 m of water on the Cardon IV block 50 km off the Paria Peninsula.

Cardon IV is licensed and operated by the Cardon IV SA joint operating company owned 50-50 by Eni and Repsol. Pdvsa owns a 35% back-in right to be exercised in the development phase, and at that time Eni and Repsol will each hold a 32.5% interest in the project, which will then be jointly operated by the three companies.

The gas sales agreement with Pdvsa Gas SA will be in place until 2036. It will provide Venezuela with a further gas source to sustain the growth of the domestic gas market for power generation, refining, petrochemicals, and heavy oil upgrading projects.

The total commitment quantities under the agreement are 8.7 tcf in three planned production phases: Phase I at 300 MMscfd, Phase II at 800 MMscfd, and Phase III at 1.2 bscfd.

Phase I includes utilization of the wells already drilled and the installation of light offshore platforms linked through a gas pipeline to a central processing facility onshore. The Phase I cost of $1.4 billion incorporates some of the pipeline and platform investment needed for later phases.

The other phases will require more drilling from the platforms installed in Phase I and expansion of CPF processing capacity.

Pdvsa and Eni Trading & Shipping also signed a memorandum of understanding to create a joint team for crude oil and petroleum products marketing and shipping.

Eni is also present in Venezuela through its participation in the Junín-5 heavy oil block held by PDVSA 60% and Eni 40% in the Orinoco heavy oil belt. The block has 35 billion boe of certified oil in place. Junin-5 is jointly operated by two mixed enterprises: PetroJunin for the development and production and PetroBicentenario for the downstream portion, which includes the construction of a refinery in the Jose Industrial Complex.

Eni also holds a participation in Petrosucre, the operating company that runs Corocoro field off northeastern Venezuela with a net production of 10,000 b/d of oil. Interests are Pdvsa 74% and Eni 26%.

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